When you head out into the wilderness, you always need to consider the equipment and provisions that you’ll be taking along in your bag.
Packing smart is one of the best ways to ensure that you can bring along a lot of tools without weighing yourself down and potentially shortening your excursion.
With backpacking increasing in popularity every year, it makes sense that more companies are beginning to offer pack-able products.
Today, we’re going to be looking at backpacking fishing poles, but keep in mind that collapsible fishing rods have been around for a long time.
However, backpacking fishing poles are a little more specialized than standard collapsible fishing rods. These products often break down into a much smaller size than your typical collapsible rod, but they’re still designed to be as rigid and reliable as possible. Of course, they’re less stable than rigid rods, but the gap between them is getting smaller.
Throughout this guide, we’re going to take a look at six of the best choices you have at your disposal when you’re looking for a backpacking fishing pole. We’ve decided to go over so many of these fishing poles so that we can improve the likelihood of each reader finding the right model for their needs.
If your short on time, I’ve put together this chart:
To give you the most detailed description of each product, we’re going to split our reviews into two sections. The first one is going to focus on the specifications of each product, so you can have their capabilities neatly laid out in front of you.
Once we’ve covered the specs, we’ll move on to our overview, in which we’ll let you know what we thought of the product over the course of our review process. Beyond reviewing each product, we’re also going to help you pick out the right one when we’ve completed our reviews.
In our buying advice section, we’ll look at some of the most crucial aspects that you should search for in the best backpacking fishing pole. This section will be especially helpful if you’ve never bought one before and you don’t know what sets apart a good model from a bad one.
Now that that’s out of the way let’s dive right into our reviews.
- 1 1 – St Croix Triumph Four-Piece Travel Spinning Rod
- 2 2 – Okuma Nomad Seven-Foot Travel Spinning Rod
- 3 3 – JEKOSEN 5.9-Foot Portable Travel Fishing Rod
- 4 4 – Okuma Voyager Six-Foot Spinning Rod Travel Kit
- 5 5 – Sougayilang Travel Fishing Rod Combo
- 6 6 – DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 12’ Portable Fishing Rod
- 7 Backpacking Fishing Pole Buyers Guide
- 8 Conclusion
1 – St Croix Triumph Four-Piece Travel Spinning Rod
- The rod breaks down into four convenient pieces for transport
- When assembled, the rod is 6’6” long
- Made of premium SCII graphite for improved durability
- The guides are made of aluminum oxide, combining light weight with strength
- Features a Fuji DPS reel seat
- The handle is made out of premium cork for improved comfort
- Features two coats of Flex-Coat finish
This backpacking fishing pole from St Croix is one of the more expensive options on our list, but it also features much better build quality than a lot of the competing models. Along with its excellent construction, there are a few features that help ensure that this travel spinning rod will stand out.
In its collapsed form, this rod is in four separate pieces, and assembling them is made simple by the logical design of the locking mechanism. Some travel rods require a lot of guesswork, but the detailed instructions and the simple way that the rod comes apart help ensure that it’s an easy task.
If value for money in your backpacking fishing pole is important to you, then you’ll love this model because it’s a lot more capable than other affordable products. It features a fast rod action, so it’ll mostly flex near the tip, though it’s not as extreme as the extra fast variation of this model.
The construction of this fishing rod is superior to most other products in its price range. The quality of this model is plain to see when you pick it up, and you won’t feel any loose parts or see anything peeling off of it. It features two coats of Flex-Coat finish to ensure that it doesn’t start to degrade anytime soon.
The rod’s construction of SCII graphite means that it’s lightweight and durable without being vulnerable to corrosion, which can destroy a fishing pole in short order. This product also features aluminum oxide guides, which share the same advantages as the graphite: low weight and high strength.
One of the most impressive things about this backpacking fishing pole is that it has a five-year warranty to ensure that it can provide you with years of service. This rod also features a Fuji DPS reel seat, which is highly resistant to wear and tear. Overall, this is one of the best-built fishing poles we’ve gotten our hands on.
You may be wondering why the build quality of these rods is so excellent, and it’s because each one of them is made by hand. Speaking of hands, the included handle is made out of premium cork, which helps ensure that the rod is more shock-absorbent and keeps your hands from getting sore.
The only real problem we had with this fishing rod was the price, as it’s almost twice the price of some of the other options we reviewed. If you don’t mind paying extra for quality, though, we’d argue that it’s worth every cent.
2 – Okuma Nomad Seven-Foot Travel Spinning Rod
- Made of graphite with an external wrap of carbon
- Features a break-down, three-section design
- Each rod comes included with two separate tip actions (one light, one heavy)
- Comes included with a waterproof bag for transportation and storage
- Features stainless steel guide frames that are resistant to corrosion
- Equipped with an ergonomic Pyramid reel seat
- This rod has EVA foam grips to keep your hands from getting sore
The Nomad from Okuma is another high-quality option that’s available for a relatively high price, but it is also constructed with care and quality materials for the best fishing experience. Unlike other rods, this one only breaks down into three pieces, making it easier to put together and take apart.
It is also designed to be broken down and put together with ease, as is evidenced by the arrows and guides that show you how to reassemble it. It features European spigot ferrule connectors, which mesh together so tightly that you’ll often forget that it isn’t a one-piece rod as you fish with it.
Each of the guide frames is made out of high-quality Alpine stainless steel, and they feature zirconium inserts for less friction against the line. Zirconium is also less likely to wear away over a longer period when you compare it to ceramic or other materials that are frequently used for guide inserts.
One of the unique things about this portable fishing rod is that it comes included with two different kinds of tips so that you can get a different action based on what you’re fishing. The first of the tips is a softer one that will bend far closer to the handle, while the second one is a lot harder, and bends near the tip.
Moving on to the rod’s construction, it features a graphite core that has been wrapped with carbon fiber, ensuring that it’s highly durable without compromising on the weight. The pyramid reel seat is a lot more durable than on other rods, and it features an ergonomic design to keep you comfortable as you fish.
The grips on this rod are made out of EVA foam, which is perfect for absorbing shocks and preventing your hands from getting tired as you use it. It’s easy to see that this fishing rod has been built to last, so if you need something that won’t fail you for years to come, the Nomad is an excellent option.
Due to the compact design of this fishing rod, you can even fit it into your carry-on luggage so that you can travel overseas with it. To make this easier, it comes included with a high-quality carry case that has a custom-made interior and extra padding to ensure that it doesn’t get damaged in transit.
Unfortunately, every product has its issues, and that’s also true for this fishing rod. The Nomad is relatively expensive, which isn’t much of a problem in and of itself, but Okuma has disappointing customer service when compared to competing companies. Overall, this isn’t that much of an issue, and we still love the fishing rod.
3 – JEKOSEN 5.9-Foot Portable Travel Fishing Rod
- Made out of solid carbon fiber for added durability
- The ceramic guide sets are designed for smoother line flow
- Equipped with nylon reel seats that are highly resistant to wear and tear
- The three-piece design of this rod helps make it easier to transport
- Features a handle with a combination of EVA foam and cork
- The rod comes with markings that help make it easier for you to assemble
The JEKOSEN 5.9-Foot Spinning Travel Rod is the first of the more affordable products that we’ll be going over today, and it’s available for around a third of the price of our first two products. While it makes some sacrifices to reach this price point, none of them are drastic enough to turn us away from this fishing pole.
Made out of carbon fiber, this fishing rod features incredible structural strength that ensures that it won’t break on you anytime soon. This is a medium power rod, so it will be a lot more versatile than many of the other products that it competes with, though it’s still highly sensitive.
One of the things that we noticed about this fishing pole is that the action of reeling is a lot smoother on it than on other affordable models. This is likely due to the use of high-quality ceramic guides which reduce the amount of friction that there is between the line and the guide itself.
The frames around the guides are made out of stainless steel, which is relatively affordable yet resistant to both damage and corrosion. While this model comes available in both spinning and casting variants, we tried out the spinning reel, and we were impressed by how well it was built.
Most affordable fishing poles sacrifice reel quality, but it turned smoothly and didn’t have too many hitches throughout our testing. When you assemble this rod, you may notice that the joints have some space between them; this is to ensure that they don’t end up getting worn away by prolonged use.
The handle of this fishing rod features foam wrapped around a cork protective pad that will ensure that shocks aren’t transmitted through the length of the pole. While pulling this rod apart and putting it back together isn’t as easy as with the high-end models, you can get the hang of it with a bit of practice.
We were particularly impressed by this fishing rod’s sensitivity, as it’s often lacking in more affordable products. That wasn’t the case with this rod from JEKOSEN, as it’s sensitive enough for you to feel the slightest tugs.
As for the problems we had over the course of our review, we found that the action was a little too stiff, though that’s often a matter of preference. The case is also designed for the rod to be stored with the reel mounted, but that’s a minor complaint. Overall, this model provides you with amazing value for money.
4 – Okuma Voyager Six-Foot Spinning Rod Travel Kit
- This rod features a size 20 Voyager Reel with a ball-bearing drive in a graphite frame
- Features a length of 6 feet and breaks down into five parts
- The grips are made out of cork for comfort and durability
- Features a reel seat made out of stainless steel and ceramic guide inserts
- Comes with a lightweight tackle box
- The included travel case features a foam insert and an adjustable strap
Okuma’s second product on our list isn’t just a travel rod, though that also comes included with this fishing kit. This is one of the best choices for beginner anglers who may not have all of the gear that they need, as the accessories help ensure that you’ll be ready to head out on a fishing trip almost right away.
Another thing to keep in mind is that this fishing travel kit is much more affordable than the Okuma Nomad rod that we reviewed earlier on in our guide. The fishing pole that comes included with this fishing starter set is a six-foot long model that breaks down into five pieces for easy transport.
Since the rod deconstructs into five pieces, none of them are too long to comfortably fit in the compact carrying case that the kit includes. The small size makes this fishing rod a perfect option for customers who may not have a lot of space in their pack, though it has some disadvantages.
The main downside to the five-piece design of this fishing pole is that it takes longer to tear down and put back together than three-piece models. However, the process isn’t that tedious, because all of the connection points are clearly outlined and they all attach to each other quite smoothly.
The reel that comes included with this fishing pole is highly impressive, especially when you consider how affordable it is. This size 20 Voyager real is equipped with a ball-bearing drive system for smoother spooling, and it is housed in a graphite frame that combines low weight with durable construction.
You can also change the reel between right hand and left hand retrieve, so if you’re a lefty, then you’re in luck. There are a few extras that come with this fishing rod that help make it perfect for starters. The travel case included in this kit features a foam insert with cutouts for each of the pieces of this fishing rod.
There is even a lightweight tackle box that comes with the combo set, which is relatively small, but it has enough room for spinners, hooks, and more. The build quality is good, and the materials used aren’t exceptional, though they’re durable and they get the job done for an affordable price.
At this price, you can expect to deal with some issues in a fishing rod, and one of the main problems that we had with this one is that the drag sometimes has issues locking. The reel is also relatively noisy, so if that annoys you, look elsewhere. Beyond these problems, we were impressed by this fishing pole.
5 – Sougayilang Travel Fishing Rod Combo
- The pole is about 6.9 feet long when it is fully deployed
- Features a telescoping design so that you don’t have to deal with assembly
- The rod is made out of carbon fiber for enhanced durability
- It features smooth-flowing ceramic guide rings
- The aluminum honeycomb spool is both resilient and lightweight
- Comes included with a wide range of accessories, including a bag, three lures, and some fishing line
- Comes with a one-year warranty
Moving on to a high-quality collapsible rod, we’re now going to cover the Travel Fishing Rod Combo from Sougayilang. This fishing rod is just under seven feet long, and it collapses down to just the handle, allowing you to fit it in your backpack without worrying about tearing it down and putting it back together.
While collapsible rods are often less reliable than ones that break down into separate pieces, we had no issues with this fishing pole over the course of our tests. One thing that we did notice is that it feels a little more segmented than some of the high-end rods, but we don’t think that’s just because of the telescoping design.
This is another product that comes in a complete set, with a bunch of the equipment that you’ll need to get the most out of it. As with other fishing kits, this is best suited for anglers who are just getting started, as the extras are helpful, but they aren’t comparable to the top-quality gear that a veteran angler has.
This fishing rod is made of higher-quality material than you would expect from the price, as it features SIC Ceramic guide rings that ensure low friction and improved heat dissipation. The rings are secured to their holders by epoxy resin glue, which is highly resistant to water.
The reel features 13+1 ball bearings, all of which work together to make your reeling action as smooth as possible, and they’re corrosion resistant, so they don’t rust and jam up. The handle is interchangeable, ensuring that this portable fishing pole can work for both lefties and righties.
The honeycomb design of the reel keeps it as durable as possible while also maintaining light weight, and it’s constructed of aerospace aluminum, which is extremely light. If you have any issues with the build quality of this fishing pole, then you can take advantage of the one-year warranty that it comes included with.
This fishing kit comes with plenty of gear that can help you get started fishing. For example, you get three fishing lures, some line, and a carry bag to keep it in. The compact case is just large enough to fit the collapsed rod diagonally, meaning that it won’t take up too much space when you’re backpacking.
We had some issues with the line snagging, but that’s to be expected from many budget fishing rods. One of the most significant problems is that Sougayilang has poor customer service, so if you get a defective rod, you may have some trouble with them. Other than that, this fishing rod provides you with excellent value for money.
6 – DRAGONtail Shadowfire 365 12’ Portable Fishing Rod
- When assembled, the rod is 12 feet long
- Features a collapsible design with eight segments
- The tenkara-style rod doesn’t feature a reel, so you’ll bring the line in manually
- Constructed out of high-quality IM12 carbon fiber
- Features an ergonomic double-hump handle for improved comfort
- It also comes with high-quality tenkara line, a foam line holder, three tenkara flies, a storage tube, and more
The final fishing rod that we’ll be reviewing in this guide is the Shadowfire 365 from DRAGONtail, which is a little more unique than the rest. Unlike every other fishing pole we’ve gone over in this guide has some sort of reel, but this one is designed for tenkara fishing, which uses no reel.
When you cast with this rod, and you feel a bite, you’ll have to bring the line in with your hands, which adds a much more personal aspect to fishing with it. Due to this rod’s length of twelve feet, it features a telescoping design with eight parts, and it fits snugly into the included storage tube.
This fishing rod is available as a standalone product, but we reviewed the complete starter kit that comes included with a range of extras for only about 15 dollars more. The starter set features the storage tube, a sock for your fishing rod, as well as some tenkara line and a spool of tippet.
If you have nowhere to keep your line, then you’ll also appreciate the inclusion of an EVA foam line holder. While these extras are helpful, the fishing rod itself is the star of the show, and it features a quick set up process that isn’t as complicated as other tenkara fishing poles.
You can have this pole ready for use within a few minutes, and you’ll get faster at it with more practice. Despite being 12 feet long, this fishing rod collapses down to a length of only 20 inches, which makes it suitable for backpacking, though it’s near the upper size limit.
The rod itself features a traditional tenkara design, but when you take a moment to analyze its construction, you’ll find that it features modern underpinnings. For example, the rod itself is made out of IM12 carbon fiber, which is of higher quality than the IM8 variety used in cheaper rods.
This fishing rod features a soft action for typical tenkara-style fishing, but it’s resilient enough to let you get a hold of fish that are fighting harder than usual. The handle on this fishing rod features a double hump design that conforms to the shape of your hands so that you can fish comfortably.
Of course, the main downside to this fishing rod is that you’ll have to learn the tenkara fishing style, but if you already know it, this is a perfect model for backpackers. Of course, this is a mid-range fishing rod, so you’ll have to be prepared to pay a little bit more for it.
Backpacking Fishing Pole Buyers Guide
Having covered six of the best backpacking fishing poles that are on the market, we’re going to now take a look at the features to look for in the right one. Whether you’re a beginner or an intermediate angler, this part of our guide should help you pick out the right fishing pole.
The first thing that you should look at in your backpacking fishing pole is the material that it is made out of. There are quite a few different materials that are used when making fishing rods, but the rod itself will typically be made, of plastic, carbon fiber, graphite, or some combination of them.
Plastic fishing rods just aren’t worth the money, and we’d highly recommend that you stay away from them unless you’re teaching a child how to fish. Graphite features the advantage of being fully resistant to corrosion while maintaining low weight and high strength, and carbon fiber shares similar benefits.
Whether or not your fishing pole for backpacking is portable will determine whether it can fit in your bag in the first place. You’ll want to make sure that the collapsed form of your fishing rod is small enough to fit in comfortably with the rest of your gear, or at least on an equipment net outside of your bag.
Of course, more portable fishing poles will often compromise some degree of stability while they’re fully extended, though high-end models have done away with this issue. There are two main kinds of collapsible fishing rods, which we’ll take a look at soon.
The handle on a fishing rod is a part that is often overlooked, but it can usually determine whether or not a model is ideal for extended use over the course of a day. Most of the time, fishing poles come equipped with handles that are made out of EVA foam which absorbs shocks and keeps your hands comfortable.
Many fishing rods also feature cork in the handle, which is much more shock absorbent than foam. With a cork handle, you can drop a fishing rod on its butt, and you won’t have to worry about those vibrations being transmitted up the length of the rod, potentially damaging it.
Break-Down or Telescoping?
If you’re choosing the best fishing rod for backpacking, you’ll have to decide between a model that breaks down or features a telescoping design. Break-down rods tend to be more stable when they’re fully deployed, as they lock together much more closely, but they also take more effort to break apart and put back together.
On the other hand, a telescoping rod sacrifices a little bit of stability for ease of use, as you simply have to slide out each of the sections to start using it. When you’re done, collapsing one of them is as simple as pulling some locking tabs and pushing the rod into itself.
Kit or Standalone?
The last thing to account for is whether or not your fishing pole comes in a kit or alone. A fishing rod kit will include things like string, a carry case, and even a small tackle box, making them perfect for anglers who are just getting started. If you’re an experienced fisher, starter kits are usually a waste of money.
Picking the right fishing rod is a challenge, and that’s even truer when you’re looking for one to go backpacking with. We hope that you’ve been able to find a product that works for you using this guide. Thank you for your time.